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Cambodia's 'lords' form union under Hun Sen ahead of polls

New association of tycoons to impart 'ethics' to scandal-hit elite

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen attends a European Union and Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit in Brussels on Dec. 14, 2022.    © Reuters

PHNOM PENH -- A group of Cambodian tycoons bearing the title "lord" have banded together in a formal association ahead of national elections in July, with a plan to impart "ethics" to their growing ranks after years of public scandals.

Originally intended as an honorific for those committed to charity, the title of oknha -- bestowed on Cambodians who donate money or equipment that is worth more than $500,000 -- has been doled out in recent years to powerful business people in virtually every industry, some of whom have been accused of land-grabbing and corruption.

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